• Britain's Chris Froome celebrates after winning the Spanish Vuelta cycling race, in Madrid. (AAP)Source: AAP
Chris Froome has spoken publicly in an interview for the first time since the announcement yesterday (AEDT) that his urine test results showed over twice the legal limit of Salbutamol after Stage 18 of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana.
Cycling Central

14 Dec 2017 - 11:48 AM  UPDATED 14 Dec 2017 - 11:52 AM

Speaking to the BBC from Mallorca, the four-time Tour de France champion was protesting his innocence. He reaffirmed his earlier statement that was released by Team Sky following the UCI confirmation of the positive test results, that he had been using the drug as part of a normal, regular program treating his asthma. 

"I understand this comes as a big shock to people," Froome said. "I certainly haven't broken any rules here."

Asked whether he felt his legacy was permanently tainted, Froome said: "No. I can understand a lot of people's reactions, especially given the history of the sport. This is not a positive test."

Runner-up Nibali's response to Froome's positive
2018 Vuelta a Espana runner-up Vincenzo Nibali issued a brief statement on Twitter after the news of Chris Froome's positive test for levels of salbutamol above the proscribed legal limits.

"The sport is coming from a very dark background and I have tried to do everything through my career to show that the sport has turned around."

The news comes as a further blow to Team Sky, who had only just got past all the questions surrounding Bradley Wiggins' use of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) during key moments of preparation for Grand Tours.

Froome's asthma has been a well-known issue since the 2014 Criterium du Dauphine, where he was seen on camera using a puffer during a race. In his statement, Froome claimed that his asthma worsening had lead to him taking a bigger dose than normal, but that he had stayed within the limits for Salbutamol use.

"I have been a professional cyclist now, treating my symptoms and racing with asthma, for 10 years," said Froome in the BBC interview.

"I know what those rules are, I know what those limits are and I have never been over those limits.

"I have got a very clear routine when I use my inhaler and how many times. I have given all that information to the UCI to help get to the bottom of it."

UCI and Vuelta organisers respond to Froome's positive test
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has confirmed the Adverse Analytical Finding against Chris Froome from Stage 18 of his recent victorious Vuelta a Espana campaign.

The UCI declined to make any statement beyond the terse announcement but previous cases involving Salbutamol have seen the likes of Diego Ulissi and Alexsandr Pliuschin banned in the past and the levels that Froome tested at exceeded both of those cases.